Monday, April 7, 2008

Good-bye, Dear Ice Cream Cone...

Our writing. So like a flavorful ice cream cone that we want others to enjoy. But then suddenly, our beautiful, creamy creation falls flat when the editor sends us that note we dread. The rejection letter. Oh, the disappointment. It's hard to even describe. You really feel as if you, yourself, have been rejected. But of course that isn't so. It's just the words you have written, words that you have sweated over, that you have worked hard to create into an interesting and unique story everyone is sure to read. Maybe you even sunk more than the usual effort into it. You went ahead and researched it. Revised it numerous times, using study helps and other guides. Talked to other writers and had the idea critiqued. Or like once happened to me, took a three week vacation out west to research the project after an agent expressed great enthusiasm.
Only to have the the project fall flat on the ground.
I could share many, many stories of rejection over the past twelve years. Some were undoubtedly worse than others. One was a book I had written and rewritten for an editor of a major publishing house. Work on the book covered a span of two years, only to have the whole project rejected when the editor left the house That one probably stung the worse.
But every rejection hurts. So what do you do? Can't really scrape the ice cream off the floor again and put it back into the cone. It's all melted. Many times the rejection means something is wrong with the project. Maybe you need to look at the work with fresh eyes. Give it a new face lift, so to speak. Let others critique it. Or maybe even set it aside for a season and work on another idea you have.
I just heard recently of a project an author allowed her agent to market eight years ago when she was a newly signed author. It had not sold but another project did. The original story sat there while other ideas were sold. Now, suddenly, this year, the first story idea has been accepted for publication. Yes, eight years after being initially rejected by every publishing house.
So you never know.
Rejection doesn't meant the end of the world, even if it seems like it right now. So treat yourself to an ice cream cone with chocolate chunks and then get back to work. God has a way of working all things together for good, and in His perfect timing.

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